Category Archives: Money

Rebuttal of the WSJ’s garbage pro-disarmament screed

142074.439nuclear_explosion

On June 19th, after Barack Obama’s infamous Berlin speech, the Wall Street Journal published an utterly ridiculous, irredeemably biased, and misleading article propagandizing in favor of Obama’s proposals to further cut America’s nuclear deterrent. The screed, written by extreme leftists Adam Entous and Julian Barnes, proves how far the WSJ has moved by now, and proves that the WSJ is no longer a respectable, credible publication.

The screed makes numerous utterly false claims, attempts to smear and demonize Republicans, and quotes only the claims and “arguments” of the supporters of cutting America’s deterrent. Only supporters of cuts are quoted or allowed any say; no opponents are quoted and no arguments against the cuts are cited.

In short, the article is nothing but a shameless propaganda screed masquerading as an objective article, and can have no purpose other than to brainwash and mislead the public.

The central lie of the article – and of the numerous nuclear cuts supporters it quotes – is that even after Obama’s newest round of cuts in America’s deterrent, the US will still have enough weapons to deter Russia, China, and others:

“A one-third cut would allow Washington and Moscow to lower the number of warheads to between 1,000 and 1,100 each, down from the New Start limit of 1,550. That still would leave them with more than enough warheads to deter any current or future adversary, said U.S. officials.

“The president determined that we can ensure the security of the United States, and our allies and partners, and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent, while safely pursuing up to a one-third reduction in deployed strategic nuclear weapons from the level established in the New Start treaty,” a senior Obama administration official said of Mr. Obama’s message in the speech. (…)

The senior administration official said the disputes between the U.S. and Russia over Syria and missile defense shouldn’t affect talks over nuclear reductions because both the U.S. and Russia are acting based on what they see as their interests.

“If we both determine that it is in our interest to work together to reduce our arsenals even further, then we’ll move in that direction,” the official said. “I think that’s irrespective of other issues in the relationship.”

Advocates of further cuts say the number of warheads in the U.S. arsenal even after the proposed cuts would be more than sufficient to deter not only Russia but also a rising China, which has an inventory of 250 nuclear weapons, according to the Federation of American Scientists and other organizations. (…)

“If you still have 1,100 weapons that is pretty good deterrence,” said one U.S. official.”

Those claims are blatant lies. 1,000-1,100 warheads would be utterly inadequate to deter Russia or China, let alone both at once. This is because, in order to deter, you need to be able to:

a) have enough weapons to credibly threaten the destruction of the vast majority of the enemy’s assets if he commits aggression; and

b) survive any enemy first strike to conduct retaliation.

And for that, a LARGE nuclear arsenal – far larger than a mere 1,000 warheads – is needed. The Heritage Foundation estimates that the US needs between 2,700 and 3,000 strategic and tactical nuclear warheads for effective deterrence.

Why is a large nuclear arsenal needed, and why will it always be needed?

Because both Russia and China have large arsenals, countering which will require far more than just 1,000 warheads. (China’s arsenal is far larger than the FAS claims – more about that below.)

Russia

Russia has 434 ICBMs, all of which except Topol and Topol-M missiles carry multiple warheads; collectively, they can deliver at least 1,259 warheads to the CONUS. 58 of these are “Satan” heavy ICBMs with 10 warheads and up to 38 countermeasures each. It has just fielded a road-mobile ICBM also capable of carrying 10 warheads: the Yars-M. Furthermore, it has 251 intercontinental bombers (63 Tu-95s, 16 Tu-160s, 171 Tu-22Ms, though not all of them are combat-capable at all times) and 14 ballistic missile submarines (5 Delta III, 7 Delta IV, 1 Typhoon, 1 Borei class), all of which can carry 16 SLBMs. Each of these, in turn, can carry 4-12 warheads – the R-29M Sinyeva carrying four to ten, the SS-NX-30 Bulava ten, and the R-29RMU2 Liner twelve warheads each. Russia’s bombers can each carry 3-6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on its wings and one nuclear freeball bomb in the bay.

That’s just Russia’s strategic nuclear triad. Russia also has a vast tactical nuclear arsenal, consisting of, according to various estimates, up to 4,000 warheads. All of these are deliverable by a wide range of systems, including submarines, their cruise missiles, surface ships, artillery pieces, short-range missiles, and tactical strike aircraft.

Russia is now steadily growing and modernizing its nuclear arsenal. It is developing several new ICBM types: the “Son of Satan” heavy ICBM (10 warheads), a rail-mobile ICBM, the “Avangard” ICBM, and a “pseudo-ICBM” with a 6,000 km range, in addition to the forementioned Yars-M now entering service. Moscow is also developing a new bomber type (due to enter service in 2020) and fielding a new class of up to ten Borei class SSBNs.

As numerous distinguished analysts have observed, Russia has significantly increased, not cut, its nuclear arsenal under New START, and Mark Schneider warns Moscow will actually deploy more strategic warheads than New START’s “notional limits” allow, and that New START places no limits on the size or payload (including number of warheads carried) of the Russian forces. It is also building up its Tu-160 bomber fleet from stockpiled components. And, the introduction of newer Bulava and Liner SLBMs, capable of carrying – as noted above – 10 and 12 warheads, respectively, will dramatically increase the warhead carriage capacity of its SSBN fleet.

China

As for China, contrary to the FAS’s and WSJ’s lies, it has far more nuclear weapons than just 250. Former Russian missile force Chief of Staff Gen. Viktor Yesin estimates (based on China’s fissile material stocks and Russian intelligence data) that China has 1,600 to 1,800 nuclear warheads, while former DOD chief nuclear strategist Professor Philip Karber estimates China has up to 3,000 warheads, based partly on its vast, 3,000-mile-long network of tunnels for strategic missiles and their warheads. (You don’t build such a vast network for only 250 warheads.) Reputed analysts such as John Tkacik and Frank Gaffney consider these figures credible.

To deliver its warheads, China has:

  • 36 DF-5 heavy ICBMs (capable of carrying up to 10 warheads each); over 30 DF-31/31A ICBMs (4 warheads each), 20 single-warhead DF-4 IRBMs, and some DF-41 heavy ICBMs (10 warheads each);
  • 6 ballistic missile submarines capable of carrying at least 12 ballistic missiles each, each missile carrying 4 warheads, thus making the Chinese navy able to deliver 288 warheads (6*12*4), and even more if their SSBNs can carry more than 12 missiles each;
  • 20 DF-3 and at least 80 (probably many more) DF-21 MRBMs, one warhead each;
  • 440 nuclear bombs for its 440 strike aircraft (Q-5, JH-7, H-6), and possibly nuclear warheads for the CJ-10A cruise missiles arming China’s H-6 bombers;
  • over 1,600 SRBMs (though most of them are probably conventionally-armed); and
  • a large quantity of ground-launched CJ-10 and DH-10 cruise missiles.

This writer estimated last year, very conservatively, that China has at least 1,274 immediately deliverable nuclear warheads – without counting ANY of China’s SRBMs or GLCMs as nuclear-armed. In any case, it is a blatant lie to claim China has only 250 warheads when China’s airforce alone has at least 440 nuclear bombs for its strike aircraft, a fact acknowledged by General Yesin.

Not only that, China is rapidly modernizing all three legs of its nuclear triad. It is now introducing new DF-41 ICBMs, DF-25 MRBMs, and a sixth Jin class ballistic missile sub, and bombing

So no, America WILL NOT be able to maintain nuclear deterrence against either Russia and China if Obama gets to cut America’s arsenal further. Any claim to the contrary is a blatant lie.

And anyone claiming that, with a mere 1,000 warheads, the US will be able to deter “any current or future adversary” is a  fool or a congenital liar. How can anyone predict what capabilities and how many weapons will future adversaries have?

Nobody can accurately predict that. Nobody knows what the future holds.

Yet, the mission of America’s nuclear deterrent is to protect America and over 30 allies not just against the threats of today, but also those of the future. The larger your nuclear arsenal, the larger your margin of safety is.

Nobody who claims to support nuclear deterrence or to be concerned about current security and deterrence requirements can support further cuts in America’s deterrent. Cutting it – and thus weakening the US military – will only gravely  undermine deterrence and US and allied security.

In addition, Russia is blatantly violating the INF Treaty by developing and testing an IRBM, and also violating the CFE Treaty! How can we trust Russia to comply with New START and reciprocate the newest cuts proposed Obama when Russia is not complying with existing arms reduction treaties? We can’t!

Yet, the WSJ screed further quotes disarmament supporters (and only them):

“”Action by the president to achieve further cuts to the Cold War nuclear arsenal is overdue and in our national security interest,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.”

Those are also blatant lies. As I have demonstrated above, if Obama cuts America’s barely-adequate nuclear arsenal further, the US will no longer be able to deter Russia and China, both of whom retain large nuclear arsenals, which they are growing, not cutting. Obama’s nuclear deterrent cuts will imperil America’s and its allies’ security.

Cutting America’s nuclear deterrent is absolutely AGAINST America’s national security interest and is not “overdue” – it should never happen.

Moreover, Kimball – whose organization is funded by a plethora of extremely leftist groups to propagandize on behalf of disarming America unilaterally and is PAID TO LIE for the sake of disarming America – has shown he (like his bundlers) completely rejects any notion of peace through strength and subscribes to a notion of peace through weakness.

Of course, his claims – and the notions on which they’re based – are utterly wrong. It is military STRENGTH, not weakness, that brings about national security and peace. Weakness, including cutting one’s own nuclear deterrent, only brings about aggression, war, death, and destruction – as the US and numerous other countries have experienced throughout history.

The WSJ also claims that:

“Advocates of cuts say they would help save money as the Pentagon struggles to cope with deep, automatic spending cuts.

A 2013 assessment by the Arms Control Association estimated that the U.S. could save $58 billion over the next decade by reducing its nuclear force to 1,000 or fewer strategic deployed nuclear warheads.”

But those claims are also utterly false. Cutting the nuclear deterrent would “save” only pennies and thus would not help the DOD cope with deep defense budget cuts at all – while inviting a Russian or Chinese nuclear first strike.

The ACA’s own $58 billion figure is not only vastly exaggerated, but also decennial: it talks about “savings” over 10 years.  divided by 10 years is just $5.8 bn per year – only a drop in the bucket. Remember that under sequestration, the DOD is obligated to cut its budget by a whopping $55 bn EVERY YEAR.

The cuts Obama and the ACA would save close to nothing – while gutting America’s nuclear deterrent.

The WSJ article (not people quoted in it, but the article’s authors themselves) claims that:

“Calling for a significant cut in the size of the nuclear arsenal will lend Mr. Obama’s remarks historical significance.”

But if these remarks will have any historical significance, it will be because his speech will go down as one of the most shameful moments in American history – when a sitting US president blatantly lied and called for unilaterally disarming his own country.

The WSJ article also falsely claims that:

“Mr. Obama has made reducing the size of global nuclear arsenals a priority of his administration, but the effort stalled after the 2010 treaty. Mr. Obama struggled to get the treaty ratified. Republicans in Congress demanded a costly nuclear-modernization program and have made clear they oppose additional warhead reductions.”

Oh, those dastardly Congressional Republicans! How dare they demand that what is left of America’s arsenal is modernized instead of atrophying through neglect!

The fact is that the modernization Republicans demanded would not be costly at all. Modernizing the B61 warhead will cost only 10 bn over several years, for example. A new ICBM could cost only 70 mn.

The real reason why Obama’s effort to “reduce the size of global nuclear arsenals” has stalled is because NOBODY except Obama’s America wants to disarm themselves. Not Russia, which rejected Obama’s arsenal cuts proposal shortly after it was made. Not China, which refuses to even talk about its arsenal, let alone accept any limitations on it. Not North Korea, which continues to grow and perfect its nuclear arsenal and threaten the US and its allies. Not India and Pakistan, hostile to each other and desiring to retain their nukes. Not Israel, which is surrounded by enemies on all sides. Not even Britain or France, whose nuclear arsenals’ importance will only grow as America cuts its own.

THAT is why Obama’s effort has gone nowhere – because nobody else is crazy enough to disarm themselves.

There will NEVER be a world without nuclear weapons. NEVER. Obama will never succeed in getting other nations to disarm themselves – because nobody else is crazy enough to do so.

And the reason why Obama “struggled” to get New START ratified is because it was never, and is not, in America’s national interests – it undermines US national security, contains dozens of huge loopholes, and allows Russia to build up its nuclear arsenal – which it has been doing since New START ratification.

The WSJ also falsely claims that Obama can make further cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent without any Congressional oversight:

“Nuclear-arms experts said Mr. Obama doesn’t need to wait for a formal follow-on treaty to move on new reductions. The two presidents instead could achieve similar results, more rapidly, through parallel, reciprocal reductions of strategic warheads to well below 1,000 within the next five years. (…)

… the White House hasn’t ruled out an alternative approach of seeking parallel, reciprocal reductions that could be undertaken by both governments without a treaty, eliminating the need for Senate ratification.”

That is also patently false. Section 2573 of Title 22 of the US Code states that ANY agreement limiting the US armed forces, armaments, or weapon inventories must be drafted as a treaty and thus submitted to the Senate for ratification. No ifs, no buts, no ands. Obama is obligated by law to submit such agreement to the Senate.

Thus, any cuts Obama makes to America’s nuclear deterrent without a formal Senate-approved treaty would be utterly illegal and grounds for impeachment, in addition to being treasonous.

Moreover, without a treaty and a strong verification protocol, such cuts would be utterly unverifiable, making it highly likely that Russia would cheat and not make any cuts at all. Historically, Moscow has NEVER complied with any arms reduction treaties it has signed.

The WSJ screed is irredeemably biased

But the numerous blatant lies stated in the article aren’t the only reason why it’s a scandalous screed. It’s also because the authors, clearly taking sides, quoted only ONE side of the issue – the side favoring further cuts in America’s arsenal – while not asking any opponents of further cuts to voice their opinion. Nobody from the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Hudson Institute, the NIPP, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, or any other non-extremely-leftist institution has been asked to comment.

Nor does the article cite any arguments against the cuts, even though there are many. The article barely mentions the concerns of some of America’s allies:

“Some European officials voiced concerns that Russia won’t reciprocate with equal warhead reductions and will balk at cutting its tactical-nuclear-weapons arsenal. Russia maintains some 2,000 tactical nuclear bombs, many of which are on obsolete naval and air-defense systems, according to an analysis by the Arms Control Association, which advocates for reductions in the nuclear arsenal. The U.S., in turn, keeps 180 aircraft-delivered nuclear bombs in Europe.”

And by gushing about the speech’s “historical significance”, the authors clearly betrayed their bias in favor of the deep cuts Obama plans to make.

In short, their screed is irredeemably biased, highly misleading, contains a litany of blatant lies, and clearly serves only one purpose: to brainwash the public into supporting Obama’s unilateral disarmament of America.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324520904578554010643116452.html

EDIT: To be fair, the WSJ’s editors, by contrast, penned an editorial criticizing Barack Obama’s disarmament plans and pointing out – quite rightly – that his legacy will be a world with more nuclear weapons and more nuclear-armed states in it.

Rebuttal of Kingston Reif’s and Greg Thielmann’s newest lies – about missile defense

North_Korean_missile_range

North_Korean_missile_range

Kingston Reif – a pacifist propagandist working for the extremely-leftist “Council for a Livable World” – has shown his utter ignorance, as well as his extremely leftist beliefs and desires to disarm the US unilaterally, on quite a few occassions, and in December, I even took the time to completely refute his utter garbage calling for scrapping the nuclear triad. Since then, however, Reif has not stoppped writing his ignorant leftist garbage, and has recently (on June 4th) written a screed in the liberal Time magazine criticizing House Republicans for “all sorts of madness on nuclear weapons, missile defense, and related issues” – especially their proposal to create an East Coast missile defense site in the northeastern United States (e.g. New York state or Maine).

Reif claims that it would be “unnecessary, technically dubious, and cost-ineffective”.

Regarding the latter, he invokes CBO’s estimate that creating such a site would cost $3.6 bn over 5 years, and another by the National Academy of Sciences saying that their proposed “evolved GMD system” would cost $25.4 bn over 20 years.

But those numbers are not only small by themselves, they’re even small when put into perspective on a per year basis. Reif, to exaggerate the cost and scaremonger taxpayers, conveniently omits the “over X years” part of the price tag.

Divided over 5 years, $3.6 bn is $720 mn; that is 0.152% of the DOD’s base budget for FY2014 even under sequestration ($475 bn), or % if sequestration is cancelled (the DOD’s base budget would then be $526 bn).

Divided over 20 years, $25.4 bn is $1.27 bn, i.e. 0.276% of the DOD’s base budget for FY2014 even under sequestration.

So the cost would be tiny – a small fraction of one percent of the base defense budget even with sequestration accounted for. A fraction of 1% of the DOD’s budget is all that it would cost to build an EC missile defense site.

Reif claims it’s “unnecessary.” But the DOD and the Intelligence Community estimate Iran will have an ICBM in 2015/2016. That is just 2-3 years from now. So the US has just 2-3 years to prepare itself for a potential Iranian ICBM threat. Iran has made considerable progress  in long-range missile development, including being able to launch satellites into orbit (e.g. with the Safir space rocket).

Reif invokes the recent statement by VADM James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, that money for East Coast missile defense would not be used in the next FY. Of course, Syring was just expressing the position of the leftist Obama Administration – he can’t speak against his own president. But former Missile Defense Agency Director Henry “Trey” Obering, in a recent article, has expressed strong support for an East Coast BMD site.

In his screed, Reif totally contradicts himself, claiming, alternately, that the current ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California are either sufficient for protecting the East Coast or deficient and unreliable. He alternately claims they already offer adequate protection… or don’t work at all. So which is it, Kingston?

As for thereal experts on the issue (other than Gen. Obering), current Strategic Command leader Gen. Bob Kehler says that:

“I am confident that we can defend against a limited attack from Iran, although we are not in the most optimum posture to do that today… it doesn’t provide total defense today.”

The Commander of the Northern Command (charged with defending the US homeland and Canada), Gen. Charles Jacoby, says that the current GBI system is “sub-optimum.” This is no surprise; the interceptors in Alaska and California would be at the extreme margin of their performance envelopes if tasked with shooting down an ICBM heading for the East Coast.

A “sub-optimum” defense posture is not good enough. Not even close.

Moreover, in March, just 3 months ago, Gen. Jacoby told the Senate:

“What a third site gives me, whether it’s on the East Coast or an alternate location, would be increased battle space; that means increased opportunity for me to engage threats from either Iran or North Korea.”

Also in March, Gen. Jacoby told the House:

“I would agree that a third site, wherever the decision is to build a third site, would give me better weapons access, increased GBI inventory and allow us the battle space to more optimize our defense against future threats from Iran and North Korea.”

Doesn’t this nation owe it to the Northern Command – the one charged with protecting the homeland?

The requirement for a third site to protect against Iranian ICBMs was also stated in the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review, which said:

“… defense of the US homeland will be augmented by Europe-based SM-3 Block IIB interceptors, which are planned to be able to provide an early-intercept capability against potential Iranian ICBMs.”

But the SM-3 Block 2B has been cancelled now, so an EC missile defense site is needed.

Reif also claims that the proposal is “technically dubious” because GBIs supposedly don’t work. Here, he’s wrong as well. GBIs have passed most of their tests, including a recent flight test, and more tests are planned for later months. The interceptors themselves work, as do their current, first generation kill vehicles (kinetic “warhead” counterparts). Critics love to seize on the two failed intercept tests from 2010, but in those tests, it was a new generation of kill vehicles that failed – not the older kill vehicles, and not the missiles themselves. The MDA, in any case, is working to solve the problem.

And even if and when a weapon fails, this teaches us something and doesn’t mean the weapon can never work. Quite the contrary. The Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missile – the first American nuclear-armed missile deployed on submarines – failed the vast majority of its tests: 17 out of 22. Yet, it passed 5, was ultimately proven to work (with President Kennedy watching), and was deployed on 41 USN ballistic missile subs – and later became the basis for the development of the Trident ballistic missile.

Reif bemoans the GBI’s low ability to distinguish real missiles and warheads from decoys. But the MDA actually had a program to solve that problem – called the Multiple Kill Vehicle, essentially a bus carrying dozens of small kill vehicles sufficient to kill all warheads and countermeasures – until April 2009, when President Obama killed the program and when General Obering had already retired. (General Obering, of course, points this out in his piece.)

So the problem of enabling GBIs to discriminate between genuine targets – like real missiles and warheads – and decoys can be solved quite easily, if the MKV program is simply revived.

Reif complains that there is “no guarantee” that this problem will ever be solved and the GBI system made highly effective. Actually, in life, there is no guarantee of anything. There is no guarantee that your car will always start (especially in winter), or that your bus, train, or flight won’t be delayed, or that even the best friends will not fail you, or that even the most reliable weapons will always work perfectly.

There is no perfect person, vehicle, weapon, plane, ship, or anything that humans make.

But if the development and improvement of ground-based interceptors is continued, and the MKV program revived, there’s a high likelihood that these interceptors will become highly effective.

Moreover, Reif and other missile defense opponents are contradicting themselves. On the one hand, they claim that US BMD systems can’t distinguish real warheads from decoys, but OTOH, they also claim that North Korea and Iran don’t know how to mate nuclear warheads to missiles.

But if they don’t know how, they also certainly don’t know how to make credible decoys (or mate them to missiles). Why? Because decoys, in order to deceive anyone, must EXACTLY match real warheads in size and flight patterns – they must look and fly exactly like the real thing. Any decoy not matching a real warhead EXACTLY in size, shape, and flight patterns will immediately be seen on radars as what it really is – a fake.

In order to make a fake of something that exactly matches that “something” in size, shape, and flight patterns, you must first be able to make the real thing. Otherwise, you don’t know how to mimic it exactly. It’s simple logic.

So simple logic alone utterly refutes the lies of missile defense opponents like Reif. It exposes their real motivation – ideological, implacable knee-jerk opposition to missile defense per se, which motivates them to make any false claims, even contradictory ones.

You can’t have it both ways, Kingston. Either North Korea and Iran  can make credible decoys and mate them with missiles – in which case they can do the same with real warheads – or they can’t.

In short, there is a clear need for the East Coast missile defense site; it would be cheap; and if the GBI system continues to be developed and improved, and if the MKV program is revived, the system can become very effective.

Like Reif, ACA’s Greg Thielmann falsely claims that an East Coast missile defense site – and deploying the now-cancelled SM-3 Block 2B missile also intended against ICBM – would be too expensive and that the Iranian ballistic missile threat hasn’t even even begun to emerge. He even claims it’s doubtful that Iran will have an ICBM by the end of this decade.

But that threat has already begun to emerge: the US intel community and the DOD estimate Iran will have an ICBM by 2015/2016, and it could simply buy one from North Korea or China. It has already (allegedly) bought Musudan-ri MRBMs (with a 4,000 km range) from North Korea and has developed its own solid-fuel Sejjil and Ashoura MRBMs with a range of 2,500 kms. Moreover, it has also launched a satellite into space, thus making a huge step towards constructing an ICBM and demonstrating the capability to mate nuclear payloads with missiles.

Again, this truth must be repeated: the technology used to install satellites on missiles is THE SAME as that used to mate warheads to missiles. Fact.

Moreover, the point of defense, including missile defense, is to stay AHEAD of the threat, not to barely keep up with it. Yet, the US intel community and the DOD project Iran to have an ICBM by 2015/2016, so the US now has only 2-3 years to build an East Coast missile defense site.

But Thielmann goes even further, falsely claiming that North Korea doesn’t have ICBMs either and that its successful December 2012 launch of a satellite on an Unha-3 (Taepodong-2) rocket, i.e. on an ICBM. Again, the technology used to marry satellites and warheads to missiles is the same.

Moreover, after that successful launch, the South Koreans retrieved the upper stages and the delivery bus of the rocket from water; TheDailyBeast investigative journalist Eli Lake was the first to report this fact. The retrieved pieces of the missile demonstrated that North Korea DOES have the ability to marry payloads to missiles. CDN’s Defense Issues Weekly duly reported the story.

North Korea’s TD-2 ICBM, capable of reaching the CONUS, was the basis for the successful space rocket. On top of that, North Korea also has the road-mobile KN-08 ICBM, whose existence and genuity were recognized by the DOD (spoken for by Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Adm. Sandy Winnefeld) in March.

Thielmann also wrongly touts the utterly false numbers given for Russia’s and China’s nuclear arsenals by Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris (for Russia, 466 ICBMs and SLBMs and less than 1,500 deployed warheads; for China, only 300 warheads and 50-75 ICBMs and SLBMs). This is supposed to prove that even the Russian and Chinese nuclear threat isn’t big; like other advocates of America’s disarmament, he dramatically understates the real size of China’s nuclear arsenal.

But both countries have far more weapons than that. Russia has 434 ICBMs and 224 SLBMs (16 for each of its 14 ballistic missile subs), a total of 658 intercontinental missiles, and 1,550, not 1,466, deployed strategic warheads – right at New START limits. (It has significantly built its arsenal up since New START’s ratification, while the US has had to cut its own.)

China has at least 86 ICBMs, plus at least 60 SLBMs on its five Jin class submarines (which, contrary to Thielmann’s blatant lies, ARE operational, and China has 5 of these, not merely 2), plus another 12 on its Xia class sub. And China’s real nuclear arsenal numbers at least 1,600-1,800, not 300-400, warheads.

Thielmann also falsely claims that Russia and China have many common interests that make their attacks on the US unlikely. This is also a blatant lie.

The US and China share no interests whatsoever; their national interests are diametrically opposed. The US wants to safeguard freedom of navigation at sea and in the air, freedom of trade and travel around the world, and to preserve its own and its Pacific’ allies security, as well as the international rules-based order. China wants to replace the US as the world’s top power, turn the Western Pacific into an internal Chinese lake, seize the Okinawa, the Senkakus, the Spratlys, Taiwan, and goodness knows what else, and push the US out of Asia completely.

China has behaved in a very hostile manner towards the US, whether by harassing unarmed American ships, stalking American carriers, blinding American satellites with lasers, threatening war with the US, or launching massive cyberattacks on US networks. The same is true of Russia, whose President Vladimir Putin openly vents his hatred of the US at every opportunity, while conducting an arms race against America, bullying US diplomats, launching his own cyberattacks on America, and supplying America’s enemies around the world (including Iran) with weapons and nuclear fuel.

Russia and the US share very few, if any, interests.

Lastly, Thielmann falsely claims that missile defense is impeding new arms control agreements and “additional” cuts in Russia’s arsenal. This is totally false. Since the late 2000s, Russia has not been cutting anything; under New START, it has significantly increased its nuclear arsenal.

Moreover, both Russia and China know that America’s current and planned missile defense systems are of limited scope and capability – capable enough against Iran and North Korea, but not against Russia’s and China’s much more advanced missiles, let alone the huge arsenals that Moscow and Beijing have. The idea that US missile defense systems pose any threat whatsoever to Russia’s or China’s nuclear arsenals is utterly ridiculous – like everything that Thielmann and his Arms Control Association colleagues write.

Thielmann’s ACA program is ridiculously called the “Realistic Threat Assessment Project”; in fact, it’s a Threat Dramatic Understatement Project and should be called that way.

Thus, Kingston Reif’s and Greg Thielmann’s claims have once again been exposed for what they really are – blatant lies.

How to counter Chinese hacking and theft of US weapon designs

changwanquan

changwanquan

 

Gen. Chang Wanquan, the current Chinese Minister of National Defense. Photo by the Central Military Commission of the PRC.

On Tuesday, May 28th, the Washington Post and the Washington Free Beacon reported, and the DOD confirmed, that designs and performance parameters (and other classified information) for dozens of US weapon systems had been stolen in recent weeks by Chinese hackers, as warned by a Defense Science Board report.

Among the weapons whose designs have been stolen by Chinese hackers are top-drawer systems such as the V-22 Osprey, the THAAD and Aegis missile defense systems, and the F-35 strike jet, as well as some older and obsolete systems like the PATRIOT air and missile defense complex and the F/A-18 naval strike jet.

In any case, this is arguably the biggest breach of classified information – and certainly the biggest theft of US weapon designs – in US (if not world) history, overshadowing the theft of US nuclear weapon designs by Soviet spies in the 1940s and Chinese spies during the Clinton years.

(And yet, lawmakers and the Obama administration want to downgrade and soften the US export control system, to make it even easier to export weapons to China and other hostile countries. Thus, the US is essentially giving China the gun with which to kill American troops.)

The meteoric rise of China’s military might has been partially aided by espionage, including cyberespionage. Sun Tzu, who devoted an entire chapter of his Art of War to spies and believed that knowledge of the enemy can be provided only by citizens and officials of the enemy country, would’ve been amazed by the espionage possibilities that hacking has opened – and Chinese hackers’ success in doing so.

How can the US counter this Chinese cyber onslaught? Here’s how.

Firstly, the US needs to publicly recognize China as an adversary. Top US officials, including the President, need to state this publicly and unambigously, and rally the nation to take action against China. It is time to do away with the suicidal, leftist policy of appeasing China practiced by all administrations of both parties since 1989.

It is time to push aside the leftist propagandists and pseudoanalysts like Henry Kissinger, James Cartwright, Joseph Nye, Dennis Blair, Joseph Prueher, and Eric McVaddon, whose idiotic policy of appeasing China, adopted by all administrations since 1989, led to this disastrous cyberattack – the cyber version of Pearl Harbor – and to China’s dangerous military rise in the first place. China is an adversary of the US and should be treated as such.

Over 23 years of appeasing China and trying to “make it a responsible stakeholder in the international system” and trying to bring it into that system have utterly failed. China has no interest in being a “responsible stakeholder in the international system” – it has a vested interest in expanding its territory (especially at sea), subjugating its neighbors, growing its military and economic power, and pushing the US outside Asia in order to become the uncontested hegemon of that continent.

THAT is why China has amassed all of the anti-access/area-denial military capabilities that Washington is now worried about. Cyberwarfare is one of them.

China is a dangerous adversary. It has the historical grudges of a Weimar Republic, the militant nationalism of an Arab state, and the expansionist agenda of the Soviet Union – all at the same time.

It is also time to cast aside any notions of Sino-American “cooperation” on cyberspace when China is America’s adversary and the perpetrator of most cyberattacks against the US. Naive fools who advocate such attacks, such as Gen. Martin Dempsey, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, must be removed from office. It is time to publicly recognize China as an adversary and the perpetrator of these cyberattacks, and to name and shame it.

It is also time to recognize that China’s attacks on the US are but a part of a much greater struggle between China and the US, and it will not end until either side succumbs to the other. It will be a struggle similar to the Cold War. The US needs to develop a long-term grand strategy to win it.

Next, the US needs to leverage all means at its disposal to force China to stop these attacks. The US should start by developing better cyberdefenses. This means extending obligatory protection to all critical industries (or, at minimum, all those that have or want to receive federal contracts), acquiring better protective software (including better firewalls), making passwords on government computers tougher, frequently changing these passwords, signing cyberdefense pacts with allies, and most importantly, finally passing a cybersecurity bill like the CISPA passed by the House this year and last year. There is no excuse for Congress not passing a cybersecurity bill. Such bill must allow for seamless, unlimited sharing of information between the government and private companies.

Also, the US government should hire top IT specialists and consultants, such as Kevin Mitnick, Morpheus, Neo, et al., and even this man.

But mere cyberdefenses will not solve the problem. Defensive war is very difficult, although not entirely impossible, to win (how many wars have been won by staying solely on the defensive and never going on the offense?). That is because in a defensive war, the enemy – the attacker – has the initiative, and war is very difficult (although again, not entirely impossible) to win when the enemy has the initiative. Cyberwars are no different.

Thus, the US should frequently conduct massive cyberattacks of its own against China, especially the PLA, especially its hacking units.

The US should also utilize other, non-cyber, means of pressure. The scheduled, utterly suicidal sequestration defense cuts, and any cuts in the US nuclear deterrent or missile defense systems, must be completely cancelled and prohibited by law. The US military should shift, as quickly as possible, from a short-range force heavily dependent on in-theater bases, satellites, and cybernetworks, to a force wielding primarily long-range weapons and much less reliant on those assets.

Also, Chinese politicians and government officials should be completely barred from entering the US until China completely stops its cyberattacks. The invitation to Gen. Chang Wanquan, the Chinese Minister of National Defense, to visit the US should be revoked.

Moreover, the US should construct an alliance of nations surrounding China in order to counter Beijing. Participants should include, but not be limited to, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, India, and China’s western neighbors (former Soviet republics). These allies should be allowed to buy any weapons they want and receive US defense commitments if they haven’t received them yet. Existing commitments should be reaffirmed.

The US should, if possible, also try to sever Russia’s informal alliance/partnership with China.

Furthermore, the US should impose a complete embargo on Chinese products. China needs the US more than America needs China. Beijing does have a huge annual trade surplus with the US, but it also has a large annual trade deficit with the rest of the outside world.

In other words, Beijing is running huge trade surpluses with America to be able to afford large trade deficits with the rest of the world (outside the US). The US is effectively subisidizing China’s ability to do that. This is because, outside the US and China itself, few people want to buy Chinese products; and most other countries of the world don’t give a hoot about Friedman and Hayek and try – with various degrees of zealousness – to protect their industries.

If the US were to stop buying Chinese products and start buying American ones, China’s economy would suffer dreadfully, as China would now be running huge trade deficits every year. Outside the US, few people in the foreign world want to buy Chinese products.

The latest Gallup polling shows that 64% of Americans are quite willing to pay more for American products – if it means buying American instead of Chinese ones. In other words, 64% of Americans would wholeheartedly support Buy American trade policies.

Thus, America has HUGE economic leverage over China – it just needs to use it. So far, it hasn’t.

And last but not least, the US should continually shame China around the world for its abysmal human rights record and support all opposition groups in China, including the Tibetans, the Uighurs, and the residents of Inner Mongolia seeking to unite with independent Mongolia to the north.

The US has many forms of leverage it can use over China. It just needs to use them. But first and foremost, it needs to publicly recognize China as an adversary. It will never win any kind of competition – let alone Cold War style rivalry – over an adversary it is too afraid to even name.

Defense Issues Weekly: Arms Control Association nothing more than a leftist propaganda group

arton1691

arton1691

Russia continues building up its nuke arsenal

Russia continues to steadily build up and modernize its strategic and tactical nuclear arsenal, in line with the stated wishes of Russian leaders and Moscow’s current nuclear doctrine.

That doctrine prioritizes nuclear weapons above all others in Russia’s arsenal, makes them the basis of Russia’s security and superpower status, treats the US and its NATO allies as enemies, and allows the Russian military to use nuclear weapons first, even if the adversary doesn’t use them or if the opponent is a non-nuclear state.

Russia is currently modernizing all three legs of its nuclear triad. The ICBM force – the Strategic Missile Forces – is developing several new ICBM types simoultaneously. One is the “Son of Satan”, a new heavy ICBM intended to replace the SS-18 Satan (R-36M) – the most powerful ICBM ever fielded on Earth, with capacity to carry 10 powerful warheads and up to 28 decoys and other countermeasures.

Another is the Avangard, although it is not clear what that ICBM is. Another is a rail-mobile ICBM under development. A fourth new ICBM type, the Yars-M, is currently in production in both the silo-based and the mobile version. Finally, a fifth one, a “pseudo-ICBM” with a planned range of 6,000 kms, is being developed to circumvent the INF Treaty. Russia currently has 434 ICBMs.

The Russian Air Force has resumed production of modern, supersonic Tu-160 Blackjack bombers and is now developing a next generation bomber, scheduled to enter service in 2020. Concurrently, Russia is modernizing its older Tu-95 and Tu-22M bombers.

The Russian Navy has begun receiving next-gen Borei class ballistic missile submarines. Eight are on order.

The Russian tactical nuclear arsenal is undergoing significant modernization, too. Among the new delivery systems entering service are the Su-34 tactical bomber, the Su-35 Flanker multirole aircraft, and the SS-26 Stone short-range ballistic missile.

Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal – vastly bigger than America’s – is not bound by any treaty limits or inspections, and its strategic nuclear arsenal is slated to grow, not shrink, unlike that of the US.

Under the New START treaty, which the Democrats and liberal Republicans such as Henry Kissinger and George Shultz hailed as good for US national security, only the US is obligated to cut its nuclear arsenal – by one third. Russia is allowed (and accordingly continues) to grow its own arsenal. Then-Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov promised in the Russian parliament that not one Russian warhead or delivery system would be cut, and the Defense Ministry has kept that promise.

Also, the treaty has a very weak verification regime and does not, in any way, limit the number of ICBMs Russia can field, nor does it prohibit Russia to field road- or rail-mobile ICBMs (Russia already has the former and is developing the latter). Under the old START treaty, rail-mobile missiles were prohibited. Also, the treaty doesn’t count Tu-22M bombers as strategic, even though they are.

In short, the treaty gives Russia a lopsided advantage, which Moscow is only too eager to exploit.

Under current plans, Russia’s inventory of ICBMs and bombers will grow, as new bombers join the fleet and older ones are modernized, and ballistic missile submarines’ warhead delivery capacity will be increased with “Liner” missiles.

The only side cutting its nuclear arsenal in this treaty – indeed, anywhere in the world outside Britain – is the US. Despite the Obama administration’s publicly articulated goal of “Global Zero”, nobody is following the US.

Arms Control Association receives funding from extremist groups

The Arms Control Association (ACA), a liberal group founded in 1971 to promote arms control treaties and policies, receives generous funding from a panoply of leftist groups every year. This means that ACA, which claims to be an objective association conducting “research” and presenting “information” to policymakers and the public, is effectively a mouthpiece for extremely leftist groups seeking the unilateral disarmament of the United States.

These groups include the Ploughshares Fund, an organization whose explicit aim is to eliminate the US nuclear arsenal (and nuclear weapons worldwide, the problem being that no one is following the United States’ unilateral disarmament “example”), as well as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which advocates leftist policies on issues ranging from disarmament to “reproductive health” (i.e. abortion), to “community development”, to “international migration”.

ACA’s financial sponsors also include the Carnegie Corporation of New York – which has been advocating pacifism, the appeasement of America’s enemies and America’s disarmament for a long time – and the Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust, which also advocates America’s complete and unilateral disarmament (as well as unlimited abortion rights).

Other ACA sponsors include the Colombe Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Prospect Hill Foundation, and the New Land Foundation. All of these organizations support America’s and global disarmament as well as a panoply of other liberal policies. The Colombe Foundation states explicitly on its website:

“Colombe Foundation seeks to create a peaceful world through changes in American foreign policy.”

This implies that the US is an aggressor and a threat to world peace.

It further states that:

Colombe Foundation supports organizations working for a shift from wasteful military spending to investments in programs that create real national security grounded in meeting human and environmental needs.  It further supports organizations that advocate for foreign policy that is balanced with diplomacy and prevention rather than dominated by Cold War threats, war and aggression.”

The Prospect Hill Foundation’s website states:

“The Foundation makes grants in four program areas: Environment, Nuclear Disarmament & Nonproliferation, Reproductive Health and Justice, and Criminal Justice; and additionally supports the philanthropic interests and activities of Beinecke family members through Sponsored Grants in the areas of arts and culture, environmental conservation, civic affairs, social services and educational institutions.”

Besides the ACA, the PH foundation also supports many other pro-nuclear-disarmament groups in the US, including the NRDC, the UCS, and the ISIS.

House defense authorization bill takes shape

The annual defense authorization bill is taking shape in the House, as all HASC subcommittees have released their marks and the full committee prepares to do so.

The bill would deny the DOD the authority to carry out significant, overdue reforms for which the DOD has repeatedly requested authorization: healthcare and retirement programs reform, retirement of excess aircraft, and base closure.

The bill would, at the same time, preserve the seven cruisers and two amphibious ships the Navy wants to retire while the cruisers still have 20 years of service life remaining; fully fund the next generation bomber, jammer, drone, and missile programs; fully fund the nuclear triad, aircraft carriers, surface combatants, and submarines; and give the DOD funding and authorization for most other programs it has asked for.

Nonetheless, the refusal to authorize reforms proposed by the DOD will cost the Department additional billions of dollars every year. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment has warned that unless such reforms are implemented, personnel pay and benefits will consume the entire defense budget by FY2039.

China conducts massive cyber attack, steals weapon designs

On Tuesday, May 28th, the Washington Post and the Washington Free Beacon reported a massive Chinese cyberattack which occurred in the last few weeks and resulted in the theft of the designs and specifications for dozens of major US weapon systems, including the F-35 and F/A-18 strike jets, the PATRIOT, THAAD, and Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, and the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. This will save China tens of billions in development costs while also enabling it to defeat US missile defense systems.

A separate recent report has concluded that, overall, Chinese hacking costs the US 300 billion dollars annually in lost intellectual property.

The attack was conducted by Chinese military hackers, who conduct smaller-scale, but very frequent, attacks on US government networks daily.

However, the US government still denies that any crippling attack has happened or that China is a potential adversary who should be confronted – despite pleas from even some Democrats, such as SASC Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), to confront China about its cyberattacks on the US. Pentagon spokesman George Little said that “We maintain full confidence in our weapon systems” and denied that anything calamitous had happened.

Meanwhile, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, an Obama appointee, still wishes to pursue “cooperation” with China on countering cyberattacks and securing cybernetworks and continues to believe in moral equivalence between the US and China.

Efforts to defend US cybernetworks are seriously hampered by a lack of any legislation on the matter, standards of data protection, and enabling of seamless sharing of information between industry and the government. To redress these problems, the House has passed a cyberbill this year and in 2012, but the Senate, led by Harry Reid, has failed to act. President Obama has issued an executive order, but an EO is not a law, can apply to federal executive agencies only, and the Obama EO only increases the regulatory burden on industry while failing to actually redress the above-mentioned problems.

Large American Pork Producer Sold to Chinese

Virginia-based pork producer Smithfield Foods (SFD.N) entered an agreement with China’s Shuanghui International for a $4.7 billion, all-cash buyout.

Smithfield has been under pressure from it’s largest shareholder, Continental Grains, to break into multiple companies and increase its dividend. The meat producer opted to sell out to foreign interests.

The deal will likely lead to an increased flow of American-grown pork to the Asian nation. A change that could impact pork and pork product prices at home.

Smithfield, the largest producer of pork in the world, operates processing facilities in North Carolina and several countries throughout the world.

The deal will require Federal Trade Commission approval.

Defense Issues Weekly – May 28th

defile_AR0002

NOTE: From this edition forward, Defense Issues Weekly will appear on weekdays. This week, it will appear on Tuesday, and afterwards, it will appear on Mondays.

US on course to gut its military…

With sequestration in effect and no prospect of it being cancelled, the DOD will have to cut an additional $550 bn from its budget over the next decade on top of all the defense cuts already implemented or mandated. Accordingly, the DOD is now devising three budgetary plans for three different contingencies.

The first assumes that only $100 bn per decade in cuts is implemented, i.e. that Congress accepts Barack Obama’s budget proposal. The second assumes $300 bn, and the third $500 bn in cuts over the next decade.

Under the first scenario, the Army would take the biggest hits, mostly in force structure. Under the second and third, all services would have to make deep cuts in their size, modernization programs, and mission readiness alike. DOD officials have privately conceded to DefenseNews.com that should the full $500 bn cuts of the sequester hit the Department, the military would be severely weakened and would not be able to defeat a major adversary, let alone a peer competitor (such as China or Russia).

$500 bn in additional budgetary cuts would also mean the military won’t get the promised and badly needed equipment and munitions to prevail in theaters where access is denied by the enemy with anti-access/area-denial weapons and where the free use of the airspace, the sea, cyberspace, and outer space is in danger. This means no new bombers, cruise missiles, carrier-capable drones, or other crucial weapons needed to prevail in such environments – which are becoming more common every day.

DefenseNews.com reports that:

“If the second option — the $300 billion cut — were put in place, the cuts would be levied against all the services.

The third option assumes full sequestration, or $500 billion over the decade. Sources with insight into the SCMR say this option would wreak the most havoc on the military and force the cancellation or scaling back of several major acquisition efforts.

These sources also said the magnitude of the cut could prevent the military from being able to fight a major war against a near peer competitor.”

Also, by the end of May, four Washington think-tanks – the CSBA, the CNAS, the AEI, and the CSIS – intend to present their own plans on how to cut defense spending by the amount required by sequestration. These presentations will attempt to lull the public into thinking that such deep defense cuts can be done safely, without jeopardizing national security or any key mission of the military.

While 62% of all Americans oppose further defense cuts and believe the defense budget is either “about right” or inadequate, and even though the vast majority of both Republicans and Democrats oppose sequestration, there is little prospect of the issue being resolved. The two sides vehemently disagree on how to solve the problem, with Republicans opposing any new tax hikes and Democrats advocating a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts. Both sides have firmly entrenched in their positions and neither side is willing to blink first.

Also, both parties are being held hostage by extremists on both sides of the spectrum who oppose any compromise and believe sequestration is sacred and should stay on the books.

Already prior to sequestration, the military had to make significant cuts, from cancelling programs to retiring hundreds of aircraft, multiple surface combatants and amphibious ships, and 80,000 troops. These cuts would have to be several orders of magnitude deeper if sequestration were to stay on the books.

At present, the US Navy has only 284 commissioned ships – the fewest since 1915 and able to supply only 59% of combatant commanders’ requirements – while the Air Force is flying the oldest and smallest fleet of aircraft in its entire history, with average aircraft age at over 24 years. Moreover, most USAF bombers, tankers, airlifters, and fighters are much older.

The Marines are poised to decline to 182,000 troops, the fewest since the 1950s, even without sequestration, but with sequestration, the USMC would shrink to only 150,000 troops, the fewest since the late 1940s. The US nuclear arsenal, at just 5,000 warheads, is over 75% smaller than 20 years ago.

…and so is France

defile_AR0002

The French government is also in the process of deeply cutting the country’s military, further weakening it after deep cuts implemented by President Sarkozy (2007-2012) (photographed above).

After the newest cuts – outlined in the White Paper on Defense released on April 29th – are fully implemented, the French Army will have only 7 brigades and only 200 tanks. Its fleet of lighter combat vehicles, helicopters, and other platforms also faces significant cuts.

The French Navy will not get the second aircraft carrier that President Sarkozy promised in 2007 nor a fourth amphibious assault ship of the Mistral class. After the 2 ageing air-defense frigates (destroyers) of the Cassard class are retired without replacement, the Navy will have only 2 destroyers for air defense. The frigate fleet will also shrink, from 18 to 15, while second-rate frigates will be reclassified as first-rate ones. It will shrink further as ageing vessels leave service, because only 8 new frigates (FREMM class) will be built – not the 11 planned just a few years ago, or the 17 originally planned.

The planned air-defense frigate type (FREDA) will not be built.

Yet, the deepest cuts will fall on the already-overstretched French Air Force, the world’s oldest. It currently has only 226 combat aircraft (Rafale, Mirage 2000, Mirage F1), but will have to cut that to a paltry 180 per the newest defense cuts. The entire French military will have only 225 combat aircraft (mostly Rafales and Mirage 2000s; the remaining Mirage F1s will be retired). This is another steep cut in combat power for an Air Force already deeply cut since 2000 (when it had 382 combat aircraft) and 2006 (when it had 330). The previous President, Nicolas Sarkozy, allowed the French Air Force and Navy combined to have only 300 combat aircraft.

The Air Force’s tanker fleet will also shrink, from 14 to 12. Thus, the FAF will see the fleets of its two most important aircraft types – multirole fighters and tankers – shrink at the very time when these aircraft types are playing the lead roles in France’s wars, from Afghanistan to Libya to Mali, where France doesn’t have any local airbases and has had to fly combat missions (performed by the very multirole fighters the government wants to cut, of course) from metropolitan France through Algerian airspace with aerial refueling on the way.

Likewise, the order for A400M airlifters has been cut from 70 to 50.

France’s Malian operation has revealed a shortage of tankers and airlifters, which France has had to ask the US and Britain for, but the French government remains stubborn in cutting the Air Force.

For overseas operations, France will be able to contribute only 15,000 troops in total, backed up by one amphibious assault ship and a dozen fighters. This means that, as retired French generals have admitted, France will be able to conduct only small-scale operations overseas, and in coalition expeditionary operations, it won’t be able to offer more than a symbolic contribution.

Russia exports A2/AD arms worldwide

Russia has stepped up its exports of anti-access/area-denial weapons – such as air defense systems and anti-ship missiles – worldwide, particularly to nations unfriendly to the US, as the US ponders how to counter such weapons while its own defense budget is shrinking rapidly.

Russia has recently decided – despite US and Israeli protests – to sell advanced S-300 air defense systems and Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles and launchers to Syria, whose government is battling a Sunni Islamic insurgency and fears a Western or Israeli intervention.

The sale follows Moscow’s earlier decision, though not yet inked in a firm contract, to supply 24 Su-35 multirole fighters (with a combat radius of 1,000 nm and thrust-vectoring-capable engines), supersonic TVC engines for China’s domestically-produced fighters, S-400 (SA-21) air defense systems (with a range of 400 kms), and the Tu-22M bomber production line (China plans to build 36 of these aircraft) to Beijing, which has already built a massive, impressive network of A2/AD weapons, mostly supplied by Russia and threatening America’s ability to project power in the Western Pacific.

Russia has also sold S-300 air defense (SAM) systems, Kilo class submarines, and Su-30MKV multirole fighters to Venezuela and has been sued by Iran in international courts to deliver the S-300 systems it had promised to Tehran.

The S-300 and S-400 systems are more capable than the PATRIOT and render the airspace protected by them firmly closed to nonstealthy aircraft and missiles, as do upgraded legacy Soviet air defense systems such as the SA-6 and SA-11/17.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130519/DEFREG02/305190007/DoD-Examines-3-Budget-Cut-Scenarios

HumanEvents is now officially a leftist, anti-defense magazine

ReaganPeaceQuote

 

A Reagan picture produced by the Heritage Foundation.

Over the last few years, HumanEvents has repeatedly published garbage anti-defense screeds by professional blowhards, but usually it’s been just Pat Buchanan and, occassionally, Byron York – two well-known blowhards.

Now, however, HumanEvents is officially a leftist, anti-defense magazine, having just published its newest anti-defense screed, written by Steven Greenhut.

In it, the author tries to paint the US military – the defender of this country and its most respected institution – in the same light as the IRS, the oppressive federal tax collecting agency. What exactly distastes him about the military?

That it wants to be… the world’s strongest and a team of “warriors.”

Oh my goodness, what a terrible threat to US civil liberties! The US military wants to be the strongest in the world and wants to make recruits into “warriors”! Panic!

Greenhut objects to the Army (and its “Soldiers’ Creed”) calling soldiers “warriors”; he claims this is a militarist term and proof of America’s Spartan-like “militarization”. He even agrees with extremely leftist Associated Press reporter Robert Fisk calling it “militarization”:

“A few years ago, the Associated Press’ Robert Fisk reported on the rewriting of the U.S. Army’s rewriting of the “Soldier’s Creed.” It had long been a simple ethical statement in which soldiers vowed to protect our nation, live up to the highest ideals, and not disgrace the uniform. The Army rewrote it into a creed of the “warrior,” in which America’s soldiers vowed to “never accept defeat” as they destroy the nation’s enemies.

I don’t always agree with Fisk’s politics, but he was dead-on in complaining about a subtle shift in America from honoring our military and its necessary role to a more Sparta-like embrace of militarism.”

But the truth is, the Army has always, since the beginning of the Republic, considered its soldiers “warriors” and trained it to be such. Ditto the Marines, who have always led a Spartan lifestyle since their founding in 1775, as anyone who has served in the Corps knows.

The US military – like every other serious military in the world, unlike those of Europe – trains its troops to be warriors, not girly-men, smoothtalkers, or kid glove users. War ain’t beanbag.

(BTW, folks, you know what the British Army’s standard Infantry Fighting Vehicle is called? The “Warrior”.)

Greenhut objects to the US Navy calling itself “a global force for good”. He also condemns its statement that the power of every nation is measured in part based upon its Navy, so the USN wants to be the strongest in the world:

“I recently spotted billboard ads from the U.S. Navy, which proclaimed: “A Global Force for Good.” I perused the Navy’s Web page dedicated to the ad campaign, and there wasn’t a word on it about protecting freedom. I found the lingo a little creepy: “The strength and status of any nation can be measured in part by the will and might of its navy. … As the largest, most versatile, most capable naval force on the planet today, America’s Navy epitomizes this idea.””

Oh my gosh! Heaven forbid that America have the largest, most versatile, most capable navy in the world!

But doesn’t every self-respecting nation in the world want to have a strong, world-class, globally-capable navy – perhaps even the strongest in the world? Don’t China, Russia, India, France, and Britain want to have such?

Moreover, having a strong army composed of real warriors (as opposed to girly men) and a large, globally-capable navy is a prerequisite to being secure and and enjoying peace, as Ronald Reagan (quoted above) said eloquently many times, and as history has proven hundreds of times.

Yet Greenhut’s biggest lie is his utterly false claim that Republicans are protecting the defense budget, not willing to cut any program, not even entitlements, and objecting even to “modest” cuts in the defense budget. (He claims sequestration would be a “modest” cut). He even claims Republicans actually want to grow defense spending.

But, in fact, sequestration, combined with the $487 bn First Tier BCA-mandated defense cuts, means cutting the defense budget deeply, by over 30% from FY2011 levels. Sequestration has now cut the defense budget down to $469 bn, from which bottom it will never recover for the remainder of the next decade. By FY2022, it will still be at a paltry $493 bn in today’s money, as opposed to $525 bn in FY2013 pre-sequestration.

defensebudgetaccordingtothecbo2 sequestrationisapermanentcut

Sequestration itself requires cutting the defense budget by a full $550 bn from FY2013 pre-sequestration levels. Such a deep cut – $55 bn every year – requires deep reductions in every part of the military, from personnel, to training, to operations and the maintenance of existing equipment and bases, to the development and acquisition of military equipment.

No, Mr Greenhut, this is not a modest cut. Sequestration, if it is continued, will, with previous Obama defense cuts, actually represent the deepest (and fastest) cuts to America’s defense since the 1950s.

bpcdefense

Greenhut’s claim that the military is “unlikely to shrink anytime soon”, like the IRS, is also utterly false. In fact, already because of previous Obama defense cuts, the ground force has to shrink by 100,000 men, while the Navy is on track to shrink below 280 ships and the Air Force has retired hundreds of aircraft since 2009, and plans to retire further scores of planes. And that is before sequestration is taken into account at all.

If sequestration stays, the Navy will shrink to just 230 ships, the Army to its smallest since since 1940, the Marines to just 150,000 men, and the Air Force will have to cut its bomber and fighter fleets by one third, according to former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and HASC Republicans.

With such a small size, the US military won’t be able to defend even America itself – let alone its overseas interests, critical supply routes, allies, or the world’s commons (seas, airspace, outer space, cyberspace).

Greenhut implies that the US military hasn’t shrunk since the end of the Cold War. This is also utterly false. The US military, at just 1.4 mn active duty personnel, and with 75% fewer nuclear weapons and delivery systems and far fewer aircraft, ships, missiles, and ground vehicles, is far smaller than it was at the end of the Cold War.

Greenhut’s screed is a litany of blatant anti-defense lies straight from liberal playbooks. By publishing it, HumanEvents has finally shown its true face and proven that it is no longer a conservative publication by any measure. By doing so, it has proven it is a stridently liberal trash paper not worth anyone’s attention or money. All conservatives should boycott it.

Shame on Greenhut for writing such a ridiculous screed, and shame on HumanEvents for publishing it.

Most Americans OPPOSE defense spending cuts

The U.S. Army (CC)

Another leftist myth has been debunked and shown to be a farce: the myth that a majority of Americans support deep defense spending cuts.

You may remember, folks, that last year, the University of Maryland and the extremely leftist “Center for Public Integrity” commissioned a rigged poll which claimed that 66% of Americans supported cutting defense spending to the tune of $100 bn per year. Anti-defense groups such as the misnamed, Soros-funded “Project on Government Oversight”, and anti-defense writers such as Micah Zenko falsely claimed on that basis that most Americans support deep defense spending cuts, including sequestration.

There were, however, other polls saying something completely different, including one by the National Journal and one commissioned by the Foreign Policy Initiative.

Then, earlier this year, Pew conducted a poll showing that 73% of Americans oppose any cuts to defense spending (and similar percentages oppose cutting anything else).

mostamericansopposedefensecuts

And most recently, Gallup has released a poll showing that 36% of Americans believe the US spends the right amount of money on defense and another 26% think the US, if anything, isn’t spending enough – so in total, 62% of Americans oppose cutting defense. According to Gallup, only 35% of Americans think the US spends too much.

Moreover, the “don’t cut defense spending” view is held even more widely among the Independent and Republican electorates. 73% of Indies and 78% of Republicans share this pro-defense view, believing the US spends the right amount or an insufficient one.

Only among the Democrats does a majority think the US spends too much – and even among them, it’s barely a majority (51%). See here for details.

Gallup’s poll’s results mean that there is NO popular demand for defense cuts today, unlike the Vietnam War years and the late 1980s. All of that despite over 40 years of uncessant anti-defense leftist propaganda (particularly intense in the last 5 years). Gallup tells us that:

  • “In the late 1960s and early 1970s as the United States was fighting the Vietnam War, Americans’ dominant view was that the U.S. was spending too much on defense.
  • In 1981, just after Ronald Reagan took office after making concerns about U.S. military strength in light of the Iranian hostage situation and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan a major theme of his presidential campaign, Americans shifted to the view that too little was spent on defense.
  • As the Reagan administration built up military spending in the 1980s, Americans again came to believe the U.S. was spending too much in this area.
  • Near the end of the Clinton administration, as the government made an effort to reduce military spending and George W. Bush’s presidential campaign questioned U.S. military strength, an increasing number of Americans said the United States was spending too little on defense.
  • In the first several years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which included U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans most commonly said defense spending was “about right.”
  • Over the last five years, Americans have alternated in their views between believing the U.S. spends too much and believing it spends the right amount on defense, including this year, when roughly equal percentages of Americans hold each view.”

But what Gallup doesn’t tell us is that, in addition to the 36% of Americans who think the level of defense spending is “about right”, another 26% think the US isn’t spending enough, meaning that 62% of Americans – almost two-thirds of the society – oppose defense cuts.

This debunks yet another myth being spread by the left. Not only is defense spending NOT bloated, not only would deep cuts to it severely weaken the military (as sequestration is already beginning to do), not only would such cuts utterly fail to meaningfully reduce the budget deficit or attract new voters to the GOP, but also they are very unpopular: the vast majority of Americans OPPOSE them. There is NO popular demand for such policy, unlike the Vietnam War years – the time of the “guns vs butter” debates – and the late 1980s.

Not only that, but in contrast to the Vietnam War years and the 1970s, the US military is now held by the majority of the public, including 54% of young Americans, in very high regard.

Internet Taxation

aresauburn™ (CC)
Relaxed Wisdom

Relaxed Wisdom

Today 21 Republican Senators vote to tax Americans even more, while five Democrats voted against higher taxes.

Shame on those republicans, and applause for those five Democrats.

Those Republicans that are worthy of scorn are listed below. When they begin bragging about how wonderful they are and attempt to distract you with lies, don’t buy into their deceit. They will sell you a lot of snake oil, but in the end they will strike with venom again and again.

Sessions (R-AL)

Shelby (R-AL)
Boozman (R-AR)
McCain (R-AZ)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Isakson (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Collins (R-ME)
Blunt (R-MO)
Cochran (R-MS)
Wicker (R-MS)
Burr (R-NC)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Fischer (R-NE)
Johanns (R-NE)
Portman (R-OH)
Graham (R-SC)
Thune (R-SD)
Alexander (R-TN)
Corker (R-TN)
Enzi (R-WY)

The five Democrats with a proper vote are

 

Baucus (D-MT)
Tester (D-MT)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Merkley (D-OR)
Wyden (D-OR)

America is taxed enough.  Anyone with any common sense knows the federal government is one of the most wasteful organizations in the world.  Taxes should be cut until the government learns how to manage its business in a responsible manner.

I hope everyone that believes in the dignity of this nation will call their senators as many time as possible demanding better of them.

It’s Always Christmas If You’re a Politician

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli brandishing one of the forms he forgot to fill out.

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli brandishing one of the forms he forgot to fill out.

What is it about an elected official that compels rich people to want to give him gifts? Do they look needy? Hungry? Depressed? Is there a secret gift registry of which I’m unaware? Could it be a mentoring program where plutocrats adopt a middle–class governor or attorney general and show them how capitalism has paid off? Sort of a rescue program except no Labradors are involved?

Any of those reasons are an improvement over the suspicions of my wife. She believes the gifts are given because the recipients hold high public office and it might come in handy for a rich person to have a governor or attorney general in their pocket. So she is disappointed in Ken Cuccinelli. Again. And that goes for me, too.

For those of you who don’t follow Virginia politics, Ken Cuccinelli is the Tea Party–backed Republican attorney general who filed the first court case against Obamacare. He also fought the EPA on job–killing regulations. And the AG filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the papers “global warming” guru Michael Mann used to get grants while he was at the University of Virginia.

I was first disappointed in Cuccinelli when he broke a promise to serve two terms as AG and not run for governor after his first. Details are here. Now Cuccinelli and Gov. Bob McDonnell are enmeshed within a gift controversy brought on in large part by McDonnell’s failure to use his head and Cuccinelli’s failure to use his ballpoint.

The nexus of the scandal is Jonnie R. Williams, Sr. who runs Star Scientific, a former cigarette company that has progressed from selling cancer to marketing Anatabloc a nutritional supplement made from a substance found in tobacco. Anatabloc is used to fight inflammation and its also contained in facial cream where it may help to remove wrinkles caused by smoking.

Williams is a new BFF that both Cuccinelli and McDonnell have known for about five years. (Hmmm that’s just about the time they’ve been in office, but it must surely be a coincidence.) Williams gave $15,000 to McDonnell’s daughter so she could pay the ‘Let ‘em Eat Cake’ catering bill at her wedding. Williams has also given the family free use of his vacation home at Smith Mountain Lake and let the governor drive his Ferrari back to Richmond from that same vacation spread in Western Virginia. All told William’s publicly disclosed gifts to McDonnell and his political action committee come to over $120,000.

And it’s all perfectly legal. I just hope the wedding catering smelled better than the rest of the gifts. In fact, the catering started the scandal ball rolling, because McDonnell didn’t declare the gift, since it went to his daughter. I mean, what’s out of the ordinary about some BFF you’ve known since 2009 dropping 15 gees on your daughter’s wedding? It sure beats a blender.

Now FBI agents are investigating the relationship between the governor, his wife Maureen (who has promoted Anatabloc) and Williams to see if there was a quid pro quo.

Once the media started following the foie gras the trail led to Cuccinelli. He hasn’t had any weddings recently — although with a brood his size it’s only a matter of time — but he did invest in Star Scientific stock after meeting Williams. I’m sure he thought it was a great opportunity. Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds had such great success with dietary supplements, what could possibly go wrong?

Cuccinelli also stayed at the Smith Mountain vacation home twice, accepted $6,700 worth of Anatabloc, took a flight to New York, borrowed Williams’ boat, took a trip to Kentucky, stayed at Williams’ house near Richmond, ate a Williams’ provided turkey dinner and was surprised to discover he owned over $10,000 in Star Scientific stock.

Many of these gifts and the stock were not reported promptly on disclosure forms. It’s appears Cuccinelli is a lawyer, but he’s not good with details and paperwork.

The worst part of this mess is that none of it had to happen. Conservatives were convinced Cuccinelli was different. He wouldn’t fall prey to the pitfalls of influence and influencers. But he did. And because he did, Cuccinelli is dealing with a campaign issue that never should have happened and one that sullies his reputation for ethics and honesty.

Delusional Democrats are fantasizing that the controversy may force McDonnell to resign. This is very unlikely, not the least because the events don’t rise to the level of a major scandal. But if McDonnell did resign, it would restore a disenchanted Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s faith in Providence. At the stroke of a pen Bolling would get to be governor without running a primary campaign, and even better he would be governor before Ken Cuccinelli!

Meanwhile I have some practical gift receiving advice for Cuccinelli and other conservative politicians who — I hope — don’t want to lose touch with the Americans that elected them:

  1. Don’t take a gift from any ‘friend’ you made after you left high school unless it comes with a receipt, preferably from Wal–Mart.
  2. Don’t buy stock in a ‘friend’s’ hot company if you didn’t know him in high school.
  3. Even if you knew him in high school, don’t take any gifts from a company with ‘science’ in the name that isn’t run by someone in a lab coat.
  4. Don’t take a gift from any ‘friend’ who owns a company that the SEC, FEC, IRS, FDA or the PTA is investigating.
  5. Don’t hitch a ride on an airplane, yacht or submarine owned by a stranger you met after high school, unless you all chip in for gas.
  6. Don’t accept free vacation housing from a ‘friend’ you met after high school, unless it’s a tent.
  7. Don’t offer to valet park a ‘friend’s’ Ferrari if you have to drive it more than 200 yards.

GDP Growth Increasing 3% In July – Not Because Of Obama Policy Change



gdp
What is this thing called Gross Domestic Product (GDP)? It is everything produced by all the people and all the companies in the US and in the world. Key upon the word “produced” in the preceding sentence. Until now, the word “produced” referred to the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year. But the definition of “produced” will change in July of this year.

Being generous and not including negative GDP growth that occurred during the first three quarters of Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama’s first reign (er, term), the GDP growth rate has been 2.12 percent, not something to crow about. The GDP growth rate for the fourth quarter of 2012, after Obama was re-elected, was a whopping 0.4 percent.

However, in July 2013, there will be a world-wide redefinition of the GDP, of what is produced. Government statistics will take into account components such as film royalties and spending on research and development. Billions of dollars of intangible assets will enter the GDP of the US economy. The redefinition is expected to add about three percent to the GDP growth rate. Brent Moulton, manager of national accounts at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, said:

“We’re capitalising research and development and also this category referred to as entertainment, literary and artistic originals, which would be things like motion picture originals, long-lasting television programmes, books and sound recordings. At present, R&D counts as a cost of doing business, so the final output of Apple iPads is included in GDP but the research done to create them is not. R&D will now count as an investment, adding a bit more than 2 per cent to the measured size of the economy.”

Redefinition is fine. Just remember that apples should not be compared to oranges. But that minor technicality won’t phase Obama. I’m betting that Obama and his economic team will take credit for the GDP growth increase. He and they will conveniently forget to mention the definition change, will instead trumpet their policies as the reason for the growth. And we can expect the MSM to go right along with him. There is, after all, precedent. Look at what the MSM did with unemployment numbers – particularly just before the 2012 election.

But (and there is always a “but” when Obama is involved), the GDP growth rate will be in excess of five percent, well above what economists say is the “ideal” growth rate of about 2 to 3 percent per year. Too much GDP growth causes inflation. Expect economists to change the definition of “ideal” in order to support Obama.

So, come July, when the GDP growth rate jumps due to some accounting miracle, just remember that the economy is not really heating up. Rather remember what is actually going on, that Obama’s economic policies have not changed.

H/T to Tom, who called the GDP situation to my attention.

But that’s just my opinion
Please visit RWNO, my personal, very conservative web site!

JCPenney is back – JCP is out

jcpenney

Early last February, JCPenney rolled out its “Fair and Square Everyday Pricing Plan”. It didn’t take long for push back from consumers, analysts, and just about everyone with an opinion, either. The primary complaints weren’t limited to the new pricing program, because in addition to price tag changes, the department store started radically changing floor-plans and reduced product selection in many locations. Couple that with the fact that consumers weren’t necessarily enthusiastic about shopping in general due to the economy, and it was a near disastrous combination for the corporation.

While JCPenney got at least a temporary reprieve from the Martha Stewart branding debacle with Macy’s, that doesn’t come close to undoing the damage by recently ousted CEO, Ron Johnson. They can console themselves at least a little that the dismissal cost them a paltry $148,924, but in all fairness (pun intended), that number should include the 25% losses in sales, and the 50% drop in stock values. Hindsight is 20/20, and one can only wonder now why JCPenney would think that Johnson could have helped to boost their sales the same way did with Apple stores. Comparing the two is like the proverbial comparison of “apples and oranges” – Apple products enjoy a base of loyal consumers that buy products simply because they are manufactured by the electronics giant. It’s also abundantly clear that it was huge mistake to give Johnson free reign to make changes to the department store’s brick and mortar operations at will. It’s been argued that he was fixing something that wasn’t broken, and should have been focusing on online sales.

So, to rectify all of this, JCPenney may very well be making another big mistake by bringing back former CEO, Myron Ullman. Nothing says a company has learned its lesson about past mistakes like bringing back someone that failed to address problems previously, even if that person could be considered the “lesser of two evils.” Yes, the colossal mistakes made by Johnson need to be rolled back, and it probably won’t hurt the bottom line at least temporarily, to appease consumers that were annoyed with the radical changes by assuring them that it will be going back to “business as usual.” But, if the future plans don’t include a sincere effort to compete in the online market, JCPenney can’t count on a long-term recovery. And that brings us to “the apology” ad campaign:

The transcript:

It’s no secret, recently JCPenney changed. Some changes you liked and some you didn’t, but what matters from mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing, to listen to you. To hear what you need, to make your life more beautiful. Come back to JCPenney, we heard you. Now, we’d love to see you.

The commercial encourages consumers to visit the corporate Facebook page, to offer their feedback. A quick review of their interactions with the public isn’t particularly encouraging though. Visitor comments run hot and cold, with quite a few consumers making suggestions about the company returning to old practices. But, this is Facebook, and it’s likely that responses would be radically different on other social media sites. Many of the comments are from older consumers, and while they are important to consider, the reality of the situation is that building a marketing plan based on feedback from age-limited niche will be yet another disaster. Bluntly, particularly if catering to Baby Boomers, that is a recipe for short-term success followed by a precipitous drop and flat-line. It can’t be assumed that JCPenney will be smart enough to avoid this either, since they’ve opted to re-hire Ullman. Only time will tell where this all leads, but if the past is any indication, consumers will get one thing they tend to enjoy for at least a little while – going out of business sales.

Rebuttal of the 6 most popular myths about nuclear weapons

megoizzy (CC)

As it continues to campaign for deep cuts in America’s defenses, the Left has particularly aimed its arrows at the US nuclear deterrent, which protect America and over 30 of its allies against the most catastrophic threats: a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack; a large-scale conventional attack; and nuclear proliferation. It is the most effective nonproliferation program ever enacted.

It is falsely claimed that:

1)      Nuclear weapons are irrelevant in the 21st century security environment. They are relics of the Cold War.

2)      A “world without nuclear weapons” is both realistically attainable and desirable.

3)      The nuclear triad is too expensive and not worth the cost.

4)      The entire nuclear arsenal is too expensive and siphons money away from other defense programs.

5)      Conventional weapons, missile defense systems, and cyberweapons can replace nuclear weapons in a very wide range of missions and scenarios and against the vast majority of targets.

6)      The fewer nuclear weapons the US has, the better; cutting America’s nuclear deterrent makes America safer.

Let’s deal with these myths one after another.

Myth #1: Nuclear weapons are irrelevant in the 21st century security environment. They are relics of the Cold War.

The facts: Nuclear weapons are HIGHLY RELEVANT in the 21st century security environment. They protect America and all of its allies against the following three, potentially catastrophic, security threats: a nuclear/chemical/biological attack, a large-scale conventional attack, and nuclear proliferation.

megoizzy (CC)

megoizzy (CC)


The US nuclear arsenal is the most effective counter-proliferation program ever created. It has discouraged all of America’s allies except Britain and France from developing nuclear weapons, reassuring them that they don’t need to do so because the US provides a powerful nuclear umbrella to them. Such an umbrella is ESPECIALLY needed now – more than ever – given the nuclear threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (including 1,550 deployed) and up to 4,000 tactical warheads – and the means to deliver all 6,800 if need be. Its 434 ICBMs can collectively deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; its 14 ballistic missile submarines can deliver over 2,200 warheads to the CONUS (while sitting in their ports); and each of its 251 strategic bombers can carry up to 7 warheads (1 freefall bomb and 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles). Its Tu-95 bomber fleet alone can deliver over 700 warheads to the middle of America.

China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and the means to deliver 1,274 of them. Among these are almost 70 ICBMs, 120-140 MRBMs, over 1,600 SRBMs, dozens of land-attack cruise missiles, six ballistic missile submarines, and 440 nuclear-capable aircraft. While the vast majority of its SRBMs and cruise missiles are reportedly conventionally-armed at present, they could be armed with nuclear weapons anytime, which is called “breakout capability.”

Then there’s North Korea with its nuclear arsenal (which it has announced it will grow) and ICBMs capable of reaching the US, and Iran, which is coming closer to achieving nuclear weapon status everyday.

Besides deterring nuclear attack, nuclear weapons also protect America’s treaty allies against a large-scale conventional attack – ensuring that it has never happened so far.

Myth #2: A “world without nuclear weapons” is both realistically attainable and desirable. 

The facts: A world without nuclear weapons (“Global Zero”) is neither achievable nor desirable. Not achievable, because no other country in the world is following America’s disarmament “example” (and foreign countries don’t care about America’s “examples”; they care only about their self-interest). No other country is following the US on the road to “Global Zero”. Accordingly, there will NEVER be a world without nuclear weapons.

Russia has recently declared it will not cut its nuclear arsenal nor enter into any negotiations to that end. It is actually building UP its arsenal (as allowed to do so by the New START) and modernizing it. China, which has up to 3,000 nuclear warheads, is also rapidly building up and modernizing its arsenal, and refusing to even disclose its size or enter into any talks – let alone formal treaty negotiations – about it. Likewise, India and Pakistan refuse to join the Nonproliferation Treaty, disclose the size of their arsenals, or enter into any talks – let alone arms control treaties – pertaining to these arsenals. Ditto North Korea, which has recently announced it will NEVER give up its nuclear arsenal and that, if anything, it will INCREASE its size and restart the Yongboyng reactor to harvest plutonium from spent fuel rods.

So NO nuclear power wants to join the West in its suicidal nuclear disarmament quest. None whatsoever. Not Russia, not China, not India and Pakistan, not North Korea. And, of course, Iran is racing towards nuclear power status.

Even Bruce Blair, a supporter of America’s nuclear disarmament, testified recently before the House Armed Services Committee on March 19th that even if America cut its nuclear arsenal deeply, e.g. along the lines of what his organization (Global Zero) proposes, NOBODY would reciprocate. (1:04:41)

Which is true – Russia, China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, etc., are all refusing to even cut, let alone eliminate, their nuclear arsenals. Obama has NO followers on the road to his totally unrealistic goal of “global zero”. There will never be a “global zero.”

Nuclear weaponry is a genie that cannot be put back into the bottle. It cannot be “un-invented” or banished from the face of the Earth, contrary to the unrealistic dreams of several US Presidents, including Ronald Reagan (this shows that, alas, Reagan wasn’t perfect and had some flaws).

Nor would a “nuclear-free world” be safer and more peaceful than it is now, contrary to Obama’s false claims that the US should “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” On the contrary, it would be less peaceful and secure.

Humanity lived through “Global Zero” – in a world without nukes – for almost its entire history from its dawn to 1945. During that time, there were numerous and horribly destructive wars between the great powers of the time, each one leading to huge casualties among combatants and civilians and to great destruction. Examples included the Peloponesian war, Rome’s wars of conquest, the Hundred Years War, the Wars of Religion, the Thirty Years War, the Seven Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, and of course, the two World Wars. Not to mention the numerous bloody civil wars such as those in the US (1861-1865) and Russia (1918-1923).

5 million people, including 1 million Frenchmen, died in the Napoleonic Wars. Proportionally to the populations of today, that would be 50 million Europeans, including 10 million Frenchmen. French casualties in these wars were 14% higher than in WW1. In that war alone, about 10 million people died; in World War 2, over 60 million, and its perpetrators attempted the extermination of entire nations (peoples) and even races. The sheer barbarity and murder witnessed during that war is unmatched by any conflict before or after that war.

Since 1945, however – the advent of nuclear weapons – there has been NO war between the great powers. And it is mostly, if not entirely, because of nuclear weapons, which have moderated their behavior and forced them to accept coexistence with each other even if they have diametrically opposed ideologies. Nuclear weapons have taught them that even the most difficult compromise is better than a nuclear exchange.

Nuclear weapons have not ended war completely – no invention will ever do that – but they have eliminated great power wars. All wars since 1945 have been either between smaller, non-world-power countries (e.g. conflicts between Israel and its Arab neighbors), or between a world power and a weaker country (e.g. Iraq, Vietnam), or between a country and an insurgency (e.g. the US vs the Taleban).

Such conflicts have a much smaller scale, body count, and destructive power than great power wars. Since WW2, there hasn’t been a conflict even approaching the sheer barbarity and destruction of WW2, and it is mostly, if not entirely, due to nuclear weapons.

Instead of seeking their scrapping, we should all learn to love them.

Myth #3: The nuclear triad is too expensive and not worth the cost.

The facts: The nuclear triad is NOT too expensive and is well worth the cost. The ICBM leg of the nuclear triad – the cheapest, most ready, most responsive, and most dispersed leg – costs only $1.1 bn per year to maintain; the bomber leg, only $2.5 bn per year. The entire nuclear arsenal, including all the warheads, missiles, bombers, submarines, supporting facilities, and personnel costs only $32-38 bn per year to maintain, which is only 6.3% of the entire military budget ($611 bn in FY2013, pre-sequestration).

For that low cost, taxpayers get a large, diverse, survivable nuclear triad capable of surviving even a large-scale first strike and of striking anywhere in the world with any needed measure of power. A triad that gives the President huge flexibility in where, when, and how to strike; a triad that keeps the enemy guessing as to how the US would retaliate.

As Robert Kaplan says, “Don’t give your enemy too few problems to solve because if you do, he’ll solve them.”

Without the ICBM leg, the enemy would have to destroy only 2 submarine bases, 3 bomber bases, and any SSBNs that would be on patrol. WITH the ICBM leg still existing, the enemy would also have to make sure he destroys every single USAF ICBM silo; there are 450, and the USAF may have built decoy siloes.

Numbers don’t lie. Liberals do.

Without a triad, the nuclear deterrent would’ve been much less survivable than it is. This will be even MORE important as the arsenal is cut to even lower, post-New-START, levels.

A nuclear triad is the most survivable and most flexible nuclear arsenal arrangement ever invented, which is why the US, Russia, China, and Israel all have it, and why India is developing it. The Air Force is also considering the development of a rail-mobile ICBM, which could be hidden in innocently-looking, civilian-style railroad cars.

Myth #4: The entire nuclear arsenal is too expensive and siphons money away from other defense programs.

The facts: According to the Stimson Center, maintaining the US nuclear deterrent costs ca. $32–36 bn per year, including all the warheads, delivery systems, support facilities, personnel, and nuclear-related intelligence. This is a paltry 5.872% of the FY2013 military budget ($613 bn per the FY2013 NDAA). Modernizing the nuclear arsenal will, according to Stimson, cost up to $390 bn over the next decade, i.e. $39 bn per year on average. This is 6.4% of the FY2013 military budget. These are microscoping percentages.

So the US provides a large nuclear umbrella to itself and to over 30 allies at a cost of only 6% of its total military budget.

Furthermore, even if the ENTIRE nuclear arsenal were scrapped IMMEDIATELY and UNILATERALLY today, that would “save” a paltry $36 bn per year and thus fail to come even close to paying for sequestration, let alone balancing the federal budget.

No, the US nuclear arsenal is not siphoning money away from anything. As usual, it’s a scapegoat for liberals.

It is, in fact, other, more costly defense programs that are siphoning money away from nuclear deterrence and other defense priorities. For example, the development and acquisition of 2,400 short-range, understealthed, slow, sluggish F-35 strike jets will cost $400 bn. A single aircraft carrier costs $15 bn, yet is tragically vulnerable to ballistic and cruise missiles, submarines, and naval mines. Yet, the biggest cost drivers in the defense budget are personnel programs (pay, benefits, healthcare, retirement, etc.), which, unless seriously reformed, will consume the ENTIRE defense budget by no later than FY2039. That means no money for nuclear deterrence or for weapons of any kind.

And while F-35s and aircraft carriers are increasingly and prohibitively expensive, they’re also increasingly vulnerable and useless for the threat environments the US military will have to operate in. Meanwhile, the next generation bomber will be able to strike from well over the horizon – even the CONUS – and submarines have always been stealthy. USAF ICBMs sit in hardened siloes, can strike any place on the planet, and may be replaced by rail-mobile ones (see above).

Myth #5: Conventional weapons, missile defense systems, and cyberweapons can replace nuclear weapons in a very wide range of missions and scenarios and against the vast majority of targets.

The facts: Such claims are preposterous. None of these weapons have anything even close to the destructive, crippling power of atomic weapons.

Conventional weapons utterly lack such power. Even the most powerful conventional bombs – MOABs and the now-retired Daisy Cutters – have the explosive power approaching only that of the lowest-yield nuclear warheads, and MOAB is not even designed to penetrate anything.

Cyberweapons can shut down computer networks, but only temporarily, and can’t physically destroy anything. Buildings, vehicles, warships, aircraft, and humans will still exist. Cyberweapons can only complement other types of arms, but never replace them.

Nor can missile defense ever replace nuclear weapons. It has long been an article of faith among conservatives, including conservative think-tank analysts, that it can, but the truth is that it can’t. This truth will be uncomfortable for them, but my job as defense analysts is to tell people the truth, not what they want to hear.

Missile defense technology is still in its infancy. Moreover, one needs several interceptors to shoot down one missile. For example, to shoot down one Russian ICBM would take 7 ground-based interceptors of the type deployed in AK and CA. US missile defense systems (except the PATRIOT) have never been tested in massive missile barrages – the type of missile attacks the US will actually have to counter.

Furthermore, BMD systems’ ability to distinguish real warheads from decoys is yet unclear, and there are no systems available for boost-phase interception. But worst of all, BMD interceptors are far more expensive than the ballistic missiles they’re designed to intercept. A THAAD missile costs $9-10 mn; an SM-3, $10 mn; a ground-based interceptor, $70 mn. It is far cheaper to build and launch ballistic missiles than to intercept them. Furthermore, America’s enemies already have such huge inventories of BMs of all types – measured in thousands – that they are and will always be able to overwhelm American BMD systems through sheer numbers.

The best way to protect against missiles of any kind is to kill the archer, not the arrow. Only “offensive” systems – strike systems – can do that. This includes ICBMs, SLBMs, cruise missiles, bombers, and theater strike aircraft.

Myth #6: The fewer nuclear weapons the US has, the better; cutting America’s nuclear deterrent makes America safer.

The facts: These claims are also completely false. No nation in history has become more secure by disarming itself – whether uni-, bi-, or multilaterally. No nation in history has increased its security by indulging in arms reduction and disarmament – such policies have only weakened, and reduced the security of, the  nations practicing them.

Myth #6 is, in fact, an utter rejection of any principle or notion of deterrence or of peace through strength; it turns these principles upside down. Myth #6 is essentially a claim that weakness is good and leads to peace and security; that weakening one’s own military (and that’s what cutting its arsenals of weapons does – it weakens the military) makes one more secure and the world more peaceful.

Many variations of this myth have been uttered by the Left. For example, during the forementioned HASC Strategic Forces Subcommitteee hearing, its ranking member, Democrat Jim Cooper of Tennessee, an ardent enemy of nuclear weapons, claimed that the biggest cut in America’s nuclear deterrent – made by the elder President Bush in the early 1990s – was “a good thing”, that it made America and the world more secure and peaceful, and that this is supposedly shared by the “mainstream” of American opinion. Another strident leftist, John Garamendi (D-CA), claimed that “whatever we can do to cut nuclear arsenals – here, in North Korea, around the world”  is a good thing.

Their claims are blatant lies, of course. As I’ve already stated, no nation in history has become more secure by disarming itself, and America won’t be the first. President Bush’s deep unilateral cut in America’s deterrent is a textbook example of that. He cut the arsenal by almost half, withdrew US nuclear weapons from Korea and from surface warships unilaterally, terminated MX ICBM production and B-2 bomber production at just 21 aircraft, terminated the Midgetman SRBM, and terminated warhead production and testing.

Yet, no one else has reciprocated. Since then, China has dramatically increased its nuclear arsenal – to at least 1,800 and up to 3,000 warheads – while North Korea and Pakistan joined the nuclear club, India and these two countries have conducted nuclear tests, and Iran has made dramatic progress towards nuclear weapon capability. Russia has begun rebuilding and modernizing its arsenal.

So Bush’s deep nuclear cuts only weakened America’s deterrent (and confidence in it) while utterly failing to discourage others from developing or increasing their own arsenals. Two new states have joined the nuclear club, others have conducted tests, and Iran is well on its way there.

That’s because cutting America’s nuclear deterrent DOES NOTHING to prevent or even slow down nuclear proliferation or encourage others to disarm themselves. It is perceived (correctly) as a sign of American weakness and appeasement. It only emboldens America’s enemies while leading America’s allies to doubt the US umbrella. It does NOTHING, and will never do anything, to eliminate or even reduce the arsenals of other powers.

Other nuclear (and aspiring) powers don’t care about America’s “example” or observance of arms control treaties; they care only about their own military strength and see nuclear weapons as a key element of that. America has NO followers on the road to “Global Zero” – which other nuclear powers simply DON’T want to travel. Even Bruce Blair has admitted at 1:04:41 that even if the US totally disarmed itself, NO ONE would follow suit.

Thus, we have refuted all of the 6 most popular leftist lies about nuclear weapons. It is impossible (and not even necessary) to refute all myths that have been made about these crucial instruments of deterrence; and the vast majority of the lies about them fall under one of these 6 categories.

Nuclear weapons are NOT a threat to America’s or the world’s security; on the contrary, they are key to preserving it far into the future. They are irreplaceable instruments of peace and deterrence.

Ford Motor Company U.S. Sales Up 18 Percent

2013 Lincoln MKZ

Ford Fusion, Ford Escape and new Lincoln MKZ Set Sales Records

DEARBORN, Mich., May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ —

  • Ford Motor Company April U.S. sales up 18 percent compared to last year – best April sales since 2007, with cars up 21 percent, utilities up 16 percent and trucks up 16 percent
  • Fusion and Escape both establish April sales records, with sales increases of 24 and 52 percent respectively
  • F-Series, America’s best-selling pickup for 36 years, posts a 24 percent increase, with sales of 59,030 – best April sales results since 2006
  • Lincoln overall sales up 21 percent; MKZ delivers its best monthly sales performance ever – with April sales passing the 4,000 vehicle mark for the first time in MKZ history

Ford’s April sales climbed 18 percent with gains across the portfolio – with cars up 21 percent, utilities up 16 percent, and trucks up 16 percent. Retail sales were up 27 percent.

“We are working harder than ever to keep pace with record demand for our all-new, fuel-efficient Fusion and Escape – with sales growth particularly strong on the coasts,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “F-Series pickups also continue to build on their momentum as the housing and construction industries rebound.”

Fusion continues its strong sales run with best-ever April sales results of 26,722 vehicles, a 24 percent increase over record year-ago April levels. The strongest retail sales increases for Fusion continue to come from the western and southeastern U.S. – with the sales in the West doubling in April and the Southeast up 70 percent.

Escape also had its strongest April sales since its launch 13 years ago, reporting a 52 percent increase with 25,826 vehicles sold.

Sales of America’s best-selling pickup, the Ford F-Series increased 24 percent, with 59,030 pickups sold. This represents F-Series best April sales results since 2006. It also is the 21st straight monthly sales increase for F-Series – with sales up 19 percent year to date.

In April, Lincoln sales increased 21 percent. The new Lincoln MKZ established an all-time monthly sales record, with 4,012 vehicles sold for the month – breaking the 4,000 vehicle mark for the first time ever.

FORD MOTOR COMPANY APRIL 2013 U.S. SALES
April % Year-To-Date %
2013 2012 Change 2013 2012 Change
SALES BY BRAND
  Ford 204,969 174,042 17.8 787,553 692,453 13.7
  Lincoln 7,615 6,308 20.7 23,514 27,144 -13.4
    Total Vehicles 212,584 180,350 17.9 811,067 719,597 12.7
SALES BY TYPE
  Cars 78,513 64,789 21.2 289,949 257,814 12.5
  Utilities 59,089 50,724 16.5 237,561 201,139 18.1
  Trucks 74,982 64,837 15.6 283,557 260,644 8.8
    Total Vehicles 212,584 180,350 17.9 811,067 719,597 12.7
FORD BRAND
Fiesta 6,080 5,135 18.4 22,108 20,657 7.0
Focus 22,557 19,425 16.1 84,455 85,468 -1.2
C-MAX 3,608 0 NA 13,285 0 NA
Fusion 26,722 21,610 23.7 107,280 85,559 25.4
Taurus 5,887 6,664 -11.7 22,871 21,535 6.2
Police Interceptor Sedan 1,166 547 113.2 3,624 575 530.3
Mustang 7,751 7,801 -0.6 25,071 27,934 -10.2
Crown Victoria 0 372 -100.0 0 2,044 -100.0
  Ford Cars 73,771 61,554 19.8 278,694 243,772 14.3
Escape 25,826 16,986 52.0 98,809 75,590 30.7
Edge 10,357 10,520 -1.5 41,891 43,428 -3.5
Flex 1,808 2,724 -33.6 7,252 9,531 -23.9
Explorer 14,204 13,419 5.8 62,853 47,037 33.6
Police Interceptor Utility 1,236 667 85.3 3,784 694 445.2
Expedition 2,785 3,335 -16.5 10,713 11,757 -8.9
  Ford Utilities 56,216 47,651 18.0 225,302 188,037 19.8
F-Series 59,030 47,453 24.4 227,873 191,280 19.1
Ranger 0 1,990 -100.0 0 15,919 -100.0
E-Series 12,573 11,810 6.5 40,212 41,004 -1.9
Transit Connect 2,779 2,892 -3.9 13,205 10,324 27.9
Heavy Trucks 600 692 -13.3 2,267 2,117 7.1
  Ford Trucks 74,982 64,837 15.6 283,557 260,644 8.8
  Ford Brand 204,969 174,042 17.8 787,553 692,453 13.7
April % Year-To-Date %
2013 2012 Change 2013 2012 Change
LINCOLN BRAND
MKZ 4,012 1,863 115.4 7,770 8,944 -13.1
MKS 730 1,298 -43.8 3,485 4,585 -24.0
Town Car 0 74 -100.0 0 513 -100.0
Lincoln Cars 4,742 3,235 46.6 11,255 14,042 -19.8
MKX 1,740 1,882 -7.5 7,806 8,309 -6.1
MKT 453 654 -30.7 1,946 2,139 -9.0
Navigator 680 537 26.6 2,507 2,654 -5.5
Lincoln Utilities 2,873 3,073 -6.5 12,259 13,102 -6.4
  Lincoln Brand 7,615 6,308 20.7 23,514 27,144 -13.4

SOURCE: Ford Motor Company

More states making move to gold, silver as legal tender

gold as legal tender

gold as legal tenderArizona senators voted 18-10 on Tuesday to pass a measure that would make gold and silver legal for use as tender for payment.

Earlier this month the same legislation cleared the Arizona House which leaves only Governor Jan Brewer’s signature before it becomes law.

While U.S. currency will continue to be accepted in the Grand Canyon State, the new bill allows gold and silver coins and bullion to be used beginning mid-2014.

Utah passed a similar law in 2011. Kansas, South Carolina and several other states are advancing similar bills.

While Utah and Arizona’s legislation is little more than symbolic, other states are eyeing infrastructure projects key to allowing precious metals to be used as legal tender.

Texas legislators are considering a measure to create the Texas Bullion Depository that would store about $1 Billion in gold currently held in a New York facility. The new facility would also function as a place for public deposits which would create a realistic medium for trade similar to blacksmiths’ and bankers’ handling of the precious metal in earlier times. Money could be deposited for one or more “depository notes” which could be traded for goods and services. The person receiving the notes in trade could then turn it in to the depository for gold. The notes would likely be backed by the State government and its gold holdings.

While the U.S. Constitution prevents states from coining money, it also says that states may not “make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts” a phrase likely opening the door for states to pass these precious metal currency bills.

The States’ moves are seen as a response to the Federal Reserve’s constant dumping of liquidity into the American economy thereby devaluing the dollar and, as many believe, leading to the collapse of the U.S. paper money.

While some states may be taking action as a symbolic nose-thumbing at the Fed, others are clearly planning for the potential downfall of the dollar.

« Older Entries Recent Entries »